Explore The Bay of Fundy and Annapolis Valley
Within one block of your oceanfront family weekly vacation rental home is the waterside Admiral’s Walk overlooking the Annapolis Valley; cannons (1840’s) have been moved to this walk from other areas and from ships; the Fisherman’s Memorial is dedicated to local fishermen lost at sea; scallop and lobster boats make a great picture if you get a chance to see them docked at the wharf. As you continue your stroll down along the Boardwalk (waterside stroll) after you take a visit onboard the 98 ft scallop dragger exhibit (Lady Vanessa). You can visit the many shops and oceanfront eating establishments along the waterfront. Take a moment to reflect at the Water Street Soldier’s Cenotaph (a monument to those who died in service). Tidal Boatworks often has a fishing boat hauled up for repairs or a paint job. A perfect time for a close-up picture. You may also want to consider signing up for a whale watch/nature tour, or fishing trip in the Annapolis Basin and Bay of Fundy; offered at the marina. Near the wharf, visit one of Digby’s local fish markets to see a miniature scallop net used to drag for scallops and watch a video on scalloping and fishing. Admiral Digby’s original well is near the entrance to the fisherman’s wharf. Visit the ocean side Fisherman’s Memorial Park for a picnic or a rest overlooking the harbour. Take a stroll along the Fisherman’s Wharf. Take a few minutes to visit the Heritage Centre for the town Wall of Fame and other exhibits (Arts Council) that may be on display.
In the town of Digby, Nova Scotia is the Admiral Digby Museum. Also has genealogy information. You may want to also tour of the Trinity Anglican Church.; the only church in Canada built entirely by shipwrights. Outdoor swimming; volleyball courts at the Digby Arena.
Enjoy your visit to the Town of Digby. DO NOT FORGET… Digby is famous for delicious scallops!
Off Routes 1 and 101, left at Exit 26, Route 303 leads to Digby and the Saint John ferry. It then connects with Route 217, leading along Digby Neck to Westport, 66 km (41 mi.) away.
The ocean side town of Digby (pop.2,311 -grows in the summer!) is almost synonymous with the plump, sweet scallops that are the town’s number one industry. It is home to one of Atlantic Canada’s largest scallop fleets, and when the fleet is in port the colourful boats pack the waterfront, giving it a festive air. A stroll along the waterfront is a good way to begin exploring the town. Digby was founded by Loyalist refugees from New England who began arriving in 1783. The first settlers were delivered by the ships under the command of Admiral Robert Digby, in whose honour the town was named. The town’s shipbuilding heritage is evident in some of the town’s buildings, notably the Trinity Anglican Church on Queen Street. Built in 1878, the church is thought to be the only one in Canada built entirely by shipwrights, and their unique handiwork shows in the laminated arches, braces and handwrought ironwork common to sailing ships built a century ago.
Digby oceanfront overlooks the broad Annapolis Valley Basin, which opens out into the Bay of Fundy. The Princess of Acadia car ferry carries vehicles between Digby and Saint John, New Brunswick. Visitors can learn more about the town’s fascinating history, and pick up a wealth of trivia about scallops and the scallop-fishing industry, at the Admiral Digby Museum located a block from the municipal visitor information centre. In honour of its major industry, the town celebrates Digby Scallop Days, a week-long summer festival featuring music, food, sailboat races, parades and more.
Digby is also the gateway to one of Nova Scotia’s most spectacular natural regions. The ocean view drive along Digby Neck to Long Island and Brier Island follows this narrow ribbon of land as it juts far out into the waters of the Bay of Fundy. The bay’s great tides have created a rich ecosystem that supports an abundance of wildlife including great numbers of whales and seabirds. The area has become famous for its whale- and seabird-watching tours, and the land is an environmental treasure that offers spectacular panoramas of rocky headlands and tide-carved coastline. The south shore road winds through timeless ocean side small fishing villages along this route such as Sandy Cove, Mink Cove and Little River.
It takes two ferries to reach Brier Island. Both operate hourly, 24 hours a day, year-round (car $1 round trip, pedestrians free); trips are less than 10 minutes. The first leaves East Ferry on the half-hour for Tiverton (pop. 261), on Long Island, an important fishing port which was settled in 1785. Tiverton offers whale-watching tours. Tiverton Islands Museum and Tourist Bureau is located in the village. The world-famous “Balancing Rock,” a spectacular columnar basaltic sea stack, is also on Long Island. At the other end of the island is Freeport (pop.400), founded in 1784. Freeport Harbour has a large fleet of lobster and fishing boats, and wonderful scenery. The village has a bank, stores and shops, restaurants, a post office, and campgrounds. There are several picnic spots with lookoffs where you can watch whales and other marine life. Another ferry crosses on the hour from Freeport to Westport.
Just 6.5 km (4 mi.) long and 2.5 km (1.5 mi.) wide, Brier Island is renowned for its natural beauty. There are gravel roads leading to two of the island’s lighthouses: the Western Light and the Northern Point Light. There are also ocean view hiking trails that lead around the island to places of pristine beauty like Pea Jack Cove. The island’s primary community, Westport (pop.321), is a major fishing port on the Bay of Fundy south shore and has become a Visitor Information Centre for the hundreds of visitors who visit Brier Island to go whale-watching.
Popular whale-watching rental cruises are available throughout the area in the summer and fall. Sightings of Finback Whales, Minke Whales and Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins are common. You may also see Humpback Whales and endangered North Atlantic Right Whales.
Located on the Atlantic south shore Fly-way, Brier Island is also popular for watching numerous species of sea birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl. The fall migration attracts bird watchers from all over
North America and Europe. Along the island’s south shore, huge blocks of basalt create a surreal effect, and throughout the island the profusion of wild flowers, including rare wild orchids, is a reminder that the island is a sensitive ecological treasure. The Evangeline Trail continues to ocean front Smith’s Cove (pop. 446), a favourite summer resort area with excellent accommodations. The Smith’s Cove Historical Museum is located in the centre of the village, in the Old Meeting House (1834) and Temperance Hall.
A scenic detour off the Evangeline Trail, at Highway 101, Exit 24, leads to Bear River (pop.881), “The Switzerland of Nova Scotia.” Bear River, a wonderfully picturesque village at the head of a tidal river, is home to many outstanding artisans whose attractive and interesting shops line the town’s main street. Buildings on stilts, old wharves and huge tides richly portray a history of shipbuilding and trading. Bear River is also home to perhaps the only waste treatment facility that has become a major tourist
attraction. The first of its kind in Canada, the Solar Aquatics Treatment Facility is a fascinating and attractive greenhouse environment where effluent is cleaned using a biologically balanced environment of aquatic plants and creatures. The facility has attracted international interest among environmentalists, and visitors are welcome. Bear River also offers a unique peek into the past at the Bear River Heritage Museum. The summer visitor information & interpretive centre is located in a windmill in the Waterfront Park. The Bear River Cherry Carnival is held in Summer.
Just off the Evangeline Trail at Clementsport (pop.385), the old church of St. Edward, consecrated in 1788, is now a museum. Surrounded by its historic cemetery, the church is situated on a high hill offering a magnificent ocean view panorama of the Annapolis Basin.
Upper Clements (pop. 246) is the site of Upper Clements Park, which celebrates Nova Scotia’s heritage with displays, entertainment, handcrafts, food outlets and amusement rides. Across the highway at the Upper Clements Wildlife Park, operated by a community group, the forested trails allow visitors a closeup look at some of Nova Scotia’s native animals. The park is trail head for 10 km (6 mi.) of
The Kejimkujik Scenic Drive crosses southwestern Nova Scotia, from Annapolis Royal through the peaceful rural countryside of Nova Scotia’s interior to Liverpool, on the other side of the province. Leaving Annapolis Royal the drive climbs the slope of South Mountain to the attractive village of Lequille (pop.570). Between Lequille and South Milford, on the left, is Mickey Hill Pocket Wilderness, a compact picnic park on Lamb’s Lake with a walking trail along the forested banks of Ten Mile River At Maitland Bridge (pop. 135) is the entrance to Kejimkujik National Park, a renowned 381-km2 (147-sq.-mi.) wilderness preserve of forests, lakes and streams that attracts paddlers and nature lovers from around the world. The park offers camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking, canoeing and cycling, all amidst the beautiful scenery of Nova Scotia’s interior.
Ocean side Annapolis Royal (pop.633) offers a captivating blend of heritage and charm that has made it a favourite stopping place along the Evangeline Trail. The town contains over 150 heritage buildings, including the oldest wooden house in Canada, the deGannes-Cosby House, built in 1708. Two other houses of great historic value in the town are the Adams-Ritchie House (1712), and the Runciman House (1817). Today, Annapolis Royal is a town of gracious large homes, colourful gardens and broad tree-lined streets. The town offers an array of unique shops, inns, artists’ studios and galleries.
At the Annapolis Royal Historic Summer Gardens visitors will enjoy 4 hectares (10 acres) of beautiful, tranquil gardens, including several theme gardens, collections, and displays spread along more than 1.5 km of winding pathways, most of which are wheelchair-accessible.
Fort Anne National Historic Site hsa a ocean view of the mouths of the Annapolis and Allain rivers. The fort features well-preserved earthwork fortifications, a museum in the officers’ quarters and a gunpowder magazine. Built in 1708, the magazine is the oldest building in any Canadian National Historic Site. Vibrant colours and lively vignettes in the Fort Anne Heritage Tapestry illustrate four centuries of the history of the site and area. The present fort is the fourth built on this location, and its park-like ambiance makes it a good place to stroll and contemplate what life was like for the young French and British soldiers who defended it.
After visiting Fort Anne, take time for a walk along lower St. George Street, the oldest town street in Canada. Here you will find the O’Dell House Museum (c. 1869), open daily during the summer, and Bonnett House, a research centre for history and genealogy.
Along this stretch of the Annapolis Valley, the Evangeline Trail, follows the north side of the river while Route 201 follows the south side. Tupperville (pop.122), 16 km (10 mi.) east of Annapolis Royal on Route 201, is the location of the Tupperville School Museum, a country school over 100 years old. A popular one-day event, the Old-fashioned Homemade Ice Cream Festival, is held here in the summer.
Just outside town you’ll find the Annapolis Royal Tidal Power Project, the first of its kind in North America. The facility generates hydroelectric power from the powerful force of the Fundy tides at the Annapolis River Causeway. A visitor information centre is also located at this site.
From Annapolis Royal, visitors should go to Port Royal National Historic Site to see the origins of European settlement in Canada. Follow the Evangeline Trail (Route 1) to Granville Ferry (pop.597). At Granville Ferry visitors can stop at North Hills Provincial Museum, in a small wood-frame house built in the 1760s, and enjoy the exceptional array of fine Georgian furniture, ceramics, glass, silver and paintings that make up the museum’s collection.
Continuing on, you come to Port Royal National Historic Site. A colony and fur-trading post built in 1605 by Sieur de Monts, the Port Royal Habitation was the earliest European settlement in North America north of Florida. The present Habitation is a reconstruction based on detailed drawings made by Samuel de Champlain. Inside the Habitation, costumed interpreters bring to life the hard daily existence of these early adventurers in the New World. A short drive from Port Royal, the hiking trail at Delap’s Cove leads you to a beautiful 12-m (40-ft) waterfall.
From Granville Ferry, the Evangeline Trail continues through the Annapolis Valley. Known as “Canada’s first breadbasket,” this historic fertile valley has been farmed for over 300 years. Today, the valley is a patchwork quilt of orchards and rolling farmlands that is one of the most celebrated apple-growing regions in the world. Graced with attractive towns and villages and threaded with gently winding rivers, the valley extends from Digby to Windsor–an area 160 km (100 mi.) long and from 8 to 24 km (5 to 15 mi.) wide. The valley is sheltered on both sides from heavy winds and the Bay of Fundy fog by the North and South mountains. Sunshine and rich red soil combine to produce excellent fruit, and a trip through the country during apple blossom time (late May or early June) is memorable. Situated on the Annapolis River, Bridgetown (pop. 1,021) exudes an abundance of small-town charm. The beautifully preserved houses along Granville Street include many heritage homes built between 1780 and 1850. The James House on Queen Street, built in 1835 by the merchant Richard James, is now a museum and tea room open during the summer months. Bridgetown, a former head of navigation, offers colourful shops, accommodations and numerous services, including a summer visitor information centre in Jubilee Park on Granville Street (Route 1). The park fronts on the Annapolis River where there are picnic tables, a bandstand, a playspace, a boat ramp and wharf.
In the centre of Bridgetown a road to the left, off Route 1, leads across North Mountain 10 km (6 mi.) to the beautiful blue waters of the Bay of Fundy. There are several picturesque fishing villages along this stretch of Fundy shore, including Hampton (pop.158), Youngs Cove (pop.160), Parkers Cove (pop.417) and Delap’s Cove (pop.65). Ask at the visitor information centre for directions to Delap’s Cove Wilderness Trail, which is an excellent place to experience the natural tide-carved beauty of the Bay of Fundy south shore. While en route, check out the secret magnetic hill.
The Valleyview Provincial Park is located 5 km (3 mi.) north of Bridgetown on the Hampton Mountain road. The park situated on the brow of North Mountain, offers picnic and camping facilities and provides a panoramic view of the valley.